British Columbia’s winemakers, grape growers and tourism operators are taking a step toward the establishment of a learning centre geared to their specific needs, thanks to a federally and provincially funded feasibility study for a BC Wine Centre of Excellence.
The vision is that a BC Wine Centre of Excellence would exist as a platform for wine and tourism education for B.C.’s wine industry, while helping visitors learn more about the province’s unique wine-growing regions, as well as the winemaking process. It would link B.C.’s wine industry with the tourism industry, as well as post-secondary institutions.
Lawrence MacAulay, the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food says “The Government of Canada is proud to support our wine industry’s growth and competitiveness. The development of a learning centre will help strengthen B.C.’s wine industry and increase awareness of Canadian grape-growing, processing and agri-tourism.”
With $75,000 in cost-shared funding from the governments of Canada and B.C., the two-phased feasibility study, being led by an industry advisory committee, will provide in-depth research on existing international wine centres of excellence. It will also offer a catalogue of business models, best practices and other relevant considerations, with respect to the development and ongoing operations of such a centre.
Additionally, the feasibility study will involve stakeholder engagement with wineries throughout B.C. to determine the feasibility and scope of a BC Wine Centre of Excellence. It is anticipated that both phases of the feasibility study will be completed by the summer of 2018.
Miles Prodan, president and CEO, BC Wine Institute says “As the B.C. wine industry undertakes development of a long-term vision and strategy for our industry, a wine centre of excellence has the opportunity of playing a major role of ensuring the viability and longevity of our industry.”
The Province has previously committed $100,000 to the BC Wine Institute to help in the promotion of B.C. wine to British Columbians, as part of April’s B.C. Wine Month campaign.
Jonathan Rouse, director of food, wine and tourism, and associate dean, Okanagan College school of business says “This wine centre of excellence provides an incredible opportunity to leverage the diverse talent supporting the wine industry, ensuring its future success and continued growth within a highly competitive marketplace — from developing tourism experiences to marketing B.C. wine internationally.”
B.C. Wine Month showcases the world-class wines that are produced in the province. British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance (BC VQA) wine is being featured in all BC Liquor Stores, and sommeliers and chefs are teaming up for wine and food-pairing events in BC VQA wine stores.